Wednesday, February 28, 2007

13 Months Old!

I was going to stop posting pictures of Amado on his monthly birthday, but BY POPULAR DEMAND, the pictures are back! Every single day I am totally amazed at the rate this child is absorbing and learning. Look, now he's even a pirate! Eyeeee!

Fluffy Mackerel Pudding

This is really funny stuff. Thanks to Adam's World for the tip on these 1974 Weight Watcher's cards. Folks, believe me when I say there are some really tasty treats here, like this Fluffy Mackerel Pudding. It's "Convenience Fish." And it's fluffy. Mmmmm.

A Somewhat Semi-World Traveller

I have travelled to just 7% of the countries in the world, but 72% of the American States. When you see it in a map like this, it's obvious there is a whole chunk of the U.S. I've been avoiding.

You can go to this website and fill out your maps as well. I didn't count places I had been to like England, Texas, or Florida where I landed on a plane but never left the airport.

Somehow, one of my clearest memories is from my cross-country bus trip in 1985. We stopped at a McDonalds in middle of the snow-covered cornfields of Nebraska and an angelic-looking young woman served me coffee from behind the counter. She seemed so young and pure she almost glowed. She had a beautiful smile. As I left the counter I noticed she had a tattoo peaking out from under her uniform that said "I was born to be a Hell Raiser."

(Note to would-be editors: "traveller" and "travelled" have two l's in the Commonwealth countries. That's what I think anyway.)

Sunday, February 25, 2007

P*Land Blazes - Part II

Above is Part II of the P*Land Blazes video, featuring the P*Land crew skating our first pool at Mountain High Lodge in Wrightwood. Diane Engels was skating with us some in those days. She was a really hot skater from Wrightwood who had skated pools before. She's definitively shredding everybody else in this video.

We had to climb up the side of the mountain to get to pool from the back, so nobody from Mountain High would see us come through the parking lot. If I remember right, we could only skate the pool on Sundays because we knew that was the day off for Mountain High security. I brought my 8-track player and played Hendrix's Crash Landing album over and over while we skated and I will forever associate that album with the pool.

Skating a pool for the first time was almost a sacred experience for me. Although the Mountain High pool was really smooth, fast, and pure, it was also a little too small to skate and it was hard to find very many good lines to take. It would be a couple of years before P*Landers really dominated a pool, when the younger generation would discover a perfect keyhole pool at the site of an abandoned motel on Route 66 in Adelanto. I wonder if any pictures exist of that place?

See the comments for more details.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Islamic Quasicrystallines

I love stuff like this....please don't bomb it.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Magnificently sophisticated geometric patterns in medieval Islamic architecture indicate their designers achieved a mathematical breakthrough 500 years earlier than Western scholars, scientists said on Thursday.

By the 15th century, decorative tile patterns on these masterpieces of Islamic architecture reached such complexity that a small number boasted what seem to be "quasicrystalline" designs, Harvard University's Peter Lu and Princeton University's Paul Steinhardt wrote in the journal Science.

Only in the 1970s did British mathematician and cosmologist Roger Penrose become the first to describe these geometric designs in the West. Quasicrystalline patterns comprise a set of interlocking units whose pattern never repeats, even when extended infinitely in all directions, and possess a special form of symmetry.

"Oh, it's absolutely stunning," Lu said in an interview. "They made tilings that reflect mathematics that were so sophisticated that we didn't figure it out until the last 20 or 30 years." Lu and Steinhardt in particular cite designs on the Darb-i Imam shrine in Isfahan, Iran, built in 1453.

Here's the NPR report, if you would like to listen.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Can't We All Just Get Along?

Hillary's charge, Obama's positively "medieval" rapid response.

A couple of months ago, I swallowed hard and thought I should support Hillary for the nomination. (I don't support war supporters.) After all, could a relative newcomer like Barak Obama really beat the Clinton Machine? But now, at the dawn of the campaign (what, with just 21 months until the election), I haven't thought much of Clinton's passionless effort, while Obama has truly been impressive. (With the exception that he's a smoker. Tsk, tsk.)

Obama seems to know deep in his heart that Americans are so sick of vicious, polarizing politics and long for something that will actually offer them hope for a more meaningful future. Can Hillary do that? I doubt it. Can Obama beat the Republican candidate? I doubt it.

So then I guess if Al Gore continues to be the most powerful voice in the world on climate change, then I will just have to open up Canada's first "Draft Al" committee.


"Dying trees still grow greener when you pray."
--Bruce Cockburn, "All the Diamonds in the World"

Monday, February 19, 2007

47 Degrees of Separation

My Mom (rainbow hat), her partner Irene (blue shirt) and Bones (black coat) rubbing it in down at the yacht harbour in Santa Cruz today, where it was 68F. Well, it may just be 21F here, but we don't need your stinkin' boats because we can walk right across our frozen bodies of water! You try that! :-)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Teachings and Learnings

I taught Amado to high five.

He learned only to raise his hand and slap mine if I said "high five" while doing a Borat impression.

I taught Amado not to play with the remotes.

He learned that if he grabbed one, held it up in the general direction of the television and pressed as many buttons as possible, weird things would happen with the T.V.---usually resulting in the appearance of Canada's strangest televangelists.

I taught Amado that he could open the kitchen drawers and pull out all of our dish towels and tupperware to play with.

He learned to open all the drawers, including those with knives and dangerous household chemicals and attempt to play with those things as well.

Amado taught me that from the moment of birth humans have a deep and powerful impulse never to be alone.

I learned that this meant that no matter what, Amado would end up in our bed every night, sleeping between his mommy and daddy.

Friday, February 16, 2007

I ♥ DF

13 reasons why Mexico City is still my favourite city. (Ok, I'm not sure about the temazcal with a real shaman in W Hotel's "sleek, modern spa." But while the rest of this list from The New York Times is Condesa-heavy, it's still pretty cool.)

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Lost Pipeline

We knew it had to be out there somewhere. After Skateboarder Magazine published pictures of the awesome Desert Pipes and the legendary Mt. Baldy Pipeline, we knew the place we lived also had all the geographic elements necessary for a big pipeline. The most obvious area for it was Cajon Pass, because of mountainous terrain, the heavy drainage of Lytle Creek, and the presence of railroads and freeways that would to be kept from being washed away. I remember checking out a couple of places under Interstate 15, but we never found anything except square drainage pipes. No good for skating.

Then one of our friends, Ron Cestari I think, told us that he heard from somebody about a huge pipe near Lone Pine Canyon, just off the ruins of the old Route 66, which was still there in the shadow of the Interstate.

The Lost Pipeline wasn't hard to find once we knew where to look. It was a crazy skate spot: about 60 yards long, running on a slight downhill angle under the tracks of the Union Pacific railroad. If you took a run down the length of it you would be flying through pitch darkness by the time you were half-way down the pipe. It had cement 3/4 of the way around it, but it was lumpy in a lot of places, so you had to look for a sweet spot and work it.

Pipes are really intense to skate because they are really fast and the vertical turns to over-vertical in an instant. After skating the Lost Pipeline, I felt like I had a taste of the rush surfers must experience at the famed Banzai Pipeline break on Oahu's North Shore.

The Lost Pipeline was one of those weird places that felt haunted all the time. The uphill side opened up in the desert. The other end opened up on a tributary of Lytle Creek where Mexican immigrants picnic and swim on the weekends and really felt like it was "down below," which is what we called everything in the Los Angeles basin, on the other side of the mountains from where we lived.

I always wanted to skate it more, but it wasn't the kind of place you wanted to go by yourself. It felt like many battles had taken place there and the pipeline had won them all.

Above: Me doing a fakie at the Lost Pipeline, circa 1979-1980.

Canada Geese

Yesterday it was sunny and, at -6C/21F, it was a comparative warm spell, so I took Amado out for a little walk. We saw a gaggle of Canada geese ("gaggle" seems so pretentious to me, but I guess that's what they're called) chillin' on the icy snow in the park. Apparently geese didn't used to spend the winter in Toronto even ten years ago, but lots of them do it now.

The temperature hasn't gone above freezing in Toronto since mid-January or so, but I'm not complaining. This is the exotic weather I moved from California for. Just imagine, in Winnipeg recently it was -50something (or -58F) with the wind chill. And right now just across Lake Ontario in upstate New York, they are buried by more than 7 feet of lake effect snow. Now that's exotic!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

American Icon

Was Anna Nicole the exploited or the exploiter? I don't know, but considering all the weird circumstances around her death, it would not surprise me if out on the streets they call it MURDER.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


This story has really gone into orbit...

"Astronaut-turned-accused-stalker Lisa Nowak drove the 900 miles from Houston to Orlando wearing a diaper, to avoid time-wasting rest stops, according to the authorities. The detail caught the eye of many curious readers, but in the aerospace community, it’s not a new concept. Astronauts have worn disposable diapers, known as Maximum Absorption Garments, or MAGs, for some 40 years now."

Emerging Spirit

Not the Emerging Spirit I'm with, but fascinating nevertheless. This was auctioned off on eBay this week for US $7500. Here's the info on it:

Emerging Spirit

Mixed media and collage on heavy wove paper, 1970-71. 610x457 mm; 24x18 inches. Signed and dated ''69 in gouache, lower left.
Ademola''s work demonstrates the experimentation in collage and Afro-centric themes in painting in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The artist and jazz musician has a wide influence in the Harlem art scene with his graphic and illustrative arts in addition to his painting and drawing.
Provenance: Ex-collection the artist; Thomas Matthias, Grinnell Collection; Archibald Arts, New York.

Exhibited: Black Art: Ancestral Legacy, Dallas Museum of Arts, The Virginia Museum of Fine Art, High Museum of Atlanta, traveling exhibition, 1989-1990.

Illustrated: Black Art: Ancestral Legacy, Dallas Museum of Arts, Harry N. Abrams, New York, 1989, p. 209.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


"Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery; none but ourselves can free our minds."
--Bob Marley

Monday, February 05, 2007


Here is Part 1 of the P*Land Blazes video (actually, it's originally a film). The P*Land crew is shredding the Ramp, Phelan, Calif. (circa 1979). The Ramp was the heart of our lives back in those years. For you don't know, the Ramp was located in the Elfering's yard in downtown Phelan, just behind where Circle K is now. It was outfitted with big-o cabinet speakers and lights and we spend many days and nights out there skating, jamming, and hanging out with groupies in the "P*Hut." Because it was "downtown," there was quite a social scene there, especially on summer nights. It was totally rad.

For details on this video see the comments section.

The second part of this movie is of us skating the pool at Mountain High Lodge, featuring honorary P*Lander Diane Engels. I'll try to post it soon.

Friday, February 02, 2007

One-Year Check Up

Yesterday Amadisto "Booji" Sol McCarroll Gallegos had his one-year check up. Overall, Dr. Eddy Lau was very impressed with the kid, especially with his size. Dr. Lau said Amado is as big as his own two-year-old!

Here are the measurements:

Head: 48cm / 19.2" (98 percentile for kids his age!)
Length: 80cm / 31.4" (90 percentile)
Weight: 12.7kg. / 23lbs. 5 oz. (62 percentile)

We discussed Amado's sleeping problems with Dr. Lau (for instance, the kid was up and SCREAMING from 12:00 - 3:00 last night, then woke up at 5:45 this morning). Dr. Lau prescribed ferberizing him (here's one view, here's another). Let me tell you, that's going to be really hard. And really loud. Sorry in advance to our neighbours in the apartment building!

Amado also got two big shots at yesterday's check up (measles and meningitis). Perhaps that was what the yelling was about? Or maybe it's the ongoing teething? Night frights? Who knows???

Above: The Subject at his first birthday party last week.